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‘Plug and Play’ Solar Finds Markets in Nebraska and Ohio

first_img‘Plug and Play’ Solar Finds Markets in Nebraska and Ohio FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Midwest Energy News:Utility customers in Ohio and Nebraska are among those taking advantage of a new and simpler technique for connecting solar arrays and other renewable energy systems to the grid.ConnectDER, as it’s known, generally eliminates the need to enter a home and it greatly reduces the amount of electrical work required.“It allows you to inject the solar on the customer side of the meter prior to getting into the home,” said Michael Shonka, a solar installer who has put the new equipment in a half-dozen homes in the Omaha area. “This means we can cut out $1,000 to $2,000 worth of cost in the system because you don’t need electricians to go through foundations trying to get to the service panel, and you don’t need to rearrange the panel.”Some people know it as “plug and play” solar.The ConnectDER “collar” plugs into the meter socket, typically on the outside of the house, and then the meter plugs into the ConnectDER, meaning that the solar panels’ inverter connects directly with the meter without having to go through the household service panel.In Nebraska, the Omaha Public Power District approved the equipment this past summer, and the Lincoln Electric System is now evaluating it. In Ohio, utilities in Tipp City, Yellow Springs and Westerville permit the new technology, as do about a dozen other utilities from Vermont to California and Hawaii.Shonka said he is “always looking for innovations in the industry,” and heard about ConnectDER at an industry meeting.“I recognized this as being a problem because every time I went to do an installation, I ran into issues with how to make the electrical connection.” The last few feet of wiring, he said, “are very expensive. You have to get through foundations, run wire in conduit through the inside of the house, rearrange the circuit-breaker box.”Marketing the product is time-consuming, said ConnectDER’s product manager, Jon Knauer, because, “Each new market that we want to sell it into requires utility approval. Over time that gets easier, because once we have a couple utilities sign off, the others tend to follow along. We’re still in the phase of opening up new markets.”He’s hopeful that in the Midwest, with its numerous municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives, the technology may spread more rapidly than in other regions.Smaller non-profit utilities “make decisions fairly quickly. The (Omaha Public Power District) approved it in a month or two, which isn’t very long. And there are a lot of statewide municipal or co-op associations that you can take the product to and say, ‘This group of utilities similar to you are doing this, and maybe you should think about doing the same.’”More: New connection technology is cutting cost of solar installationlast_img read more

Powder Dreams

first_imgIs it too early start waxing the skis for ski season? I’m not sure why, but I’m seriously itching for winter to be here. Don’t get me wrong, I love the summer. I love the fall. I’m looking forward to that transitional season too. But for some reason, I’ve had this recurring dream that I’m hip deep in backcountry powder eating a frozen granola bar and giggling. It’s almost enough for me to find a set of rollerblades and trekking poles and find the steepest hill in a desperate attempt to simulate the ski “stoke.” We’re a good four months out from seeing any snow in our region, so it’s probably too early to start checking the various weather channels and webcams for incoming snow storms. But here’s a little vid that might get you psyched for what winter could hold. last_img read more

Share the love and the credit union difference

first_img 36SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr It’s at the heart of the credit union social mission—people helping people. As not-for-profit cooperatives that provide low-cost, high-quality financial services to their members, credit unions occupy a unique place in an increasingly crowded financial services marketplace. While our competitors are driven to generate profits for shareholder return, our focus is on providing the highest quality member experience at the most reasonable cost.It’s More Than Just our MembersMore than this, many credit unions are compelled to reach beyond the confines of their membership to positively impact society at large. Credit unions don’t do this because the law requires it; they do it because it’s the right thing to do. Credit union social mission activities come in all shapes and sizes. From school-based credit unions, to financial literary events, to specialized programs designed to get members out from under the thumb of payday lenders—credit unions continue to innovate, and members continue to benefit from these good works.To grow in this fiercely competitive environment, it is critical that we continue to cooperatively pool our resources and differentiate ourselves from banks and other competitors.There’s a new program starting up that will not only promote the credit union difference, but also donate up to $105,000 to several credit unions’ favorite charities. Meet Share the Love. Born out of the credit union spirit of charity and goodwill, Share the Love is a joint campaign among CU Solutions Group; its member rewards program, Love My Credit Union Rewards; and the Credit Union National Association. This industry-wide initiative invites U.S. (50 states, plus D.C.) credit unions to create a video that showcases the good work they do in their communities for a chance to win thousands of dollars for the charities of their choosing*. continue reading »last_img read more

Bernie Sanders is wrong: credit unions charge more than 15%

first_imgBernie Sanders wants to extend a 15% rate cap to all lenders in America. He cites the rate cap imposed on credit unions in 1980 as the basis for his policy:“In 1980, Congress passed legislation to require credit unions to cap interest rates on their loans at no more than 15 percent. And, that law has worked well. Unlike big banks, credit unions did not receive a huge bailout from the taxpayers of this country. It is time to extend this cap to every lender in America.”There is only one problem with this proposal: credit unions can charge much more than 15%. Under the terms of the Federal Credit Union Act, the rate cap can be, and has been, increased. The maximum rate has been increased to 18% since May 1987. Credit unions also offer a Payday Alternative Loan program (PAL), with interest rates up to 28% allowed.Debbie Matz, Chair of the National Credit Union Administration board, says “If the rate ceiling was reduced, credit unions would be stressed to maintain PAL programs. If the rate ceiling was reduced to 15%, I know, from first-hand experience working in a federal credit union, it would be difficult to cover the costs of such short-term loans.” continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Indonesian dengue epidemic subsides after 58,000 cases

first_img Unusual numbers of cases were reported in 293 cities and parts of 17 provinces this year, the WHO said. All 30 provinces were affected by the outbreak. The vast majority of cases—about 52,000—occurred from January through March, according to previous reports. Dengue fever is a flu-like illness involving headaches, rashes, cramps, and back and muscle pain. Symptoms last about 2 weeks, and the disease can be fatal if supportive treatment is delayed. Dengue hemorrhagic fever, a potentially deadly complication, is characterized by high fever; hemorrhagic phenomena, often with enlargement of the liver; and in severe cases, circulatory failure. May 12, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The dengue fever epidemic in Indonesia has subsided after 58,301 cases were reported in 4 months, which rivaled the pandemic year of 1998, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). May 11 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2004_05_11a/en/ See also: More than 93% of the cases were in the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam, where moist conditions provide ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes, the AFP reported. The story said large outbreaks of the disease tend to occur every 4 or 5 years.center_img Elsewhere, Vietnam had 8,784 dengue cases in the first 4 months of this year, a 47% increase from last year, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report today. The cases included 14 deaths. There were 658 deaths among cases of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever reported from January through April, the WHO said yesterday. The case-fatality rate of 1.1% was lower than in previous years, officials said. “At the end of April the situation has returned to normal with all provinces reporting cases at a low level,” the WHO said. “Jakarta, Bali and Nus Tenggarah Timur, which were among the most affected provinces, are still being monitored closely.” A dengue pandemic in 1998 caused 1.2 million cases in 56 countries, the WHO reported. That year, Indonesia had 72,133 cases and 1,414 deaths, the agency said, adding, “The outbreak in Indonesia this year appears to be of similar magnitude.” As in 1998, Dengue 3 appeared to be the predominant virus serotype this year.last_img read more

Troops gather scores of bodies of virus victims in Ecuador city

first_imgTroops and police in Ecuador have collected at least 150 bodies from streets and homes in the country’s most populous city Guayaquil amid warnings that as many as 3,500 people could die of the coronavirus in the city and surrounding province in the coming months.A joint military and police task force sent out to gather corpses in the horror-struck port city had  collected 150 in just three days, government spokesman Jorge Wated said late Wednesday.Residents had published videos on social media showing abandoned bodies in the streets in the Latin American city worst hit by the pandemic. ‘Difficult days ahead’ Wated said the government is preparing for even more difficult days ahead.”The medical experts unfortunately estimate that deaths from COVID in these months will reach between 2,500 and 3,500 — in the province of Guayas alone, and we are preparing for that,” he said.Autopsies have been restricted and the government, which has banned usually crowded funeral services, initially insisted that COVID-19 victims be cremated but was forced to relent after a public backlash.”We are working so that each person can be buried with dignity in one-person spaces,” Wated said, referring to a government-run cemetery being made available with capacity for around 2,000 bodies.Last month, the city’s mayor Cynthia Viteri sent municipal vehicles to block an Iberia plane sent to repatriate stranded foreigners from landing at the city’s international airport. But Viteri was unapologetic as the number of cases spiraled in her city.”I take responsibility for protecting my city,” she said. Government apologyThe government’s spokesman apologized in a message broadcast on state television late Wednesday.He said mortuary workers had been unable to keep up with the removal of bodies because of the curfew.”We acknowledge any errors and apologize to those who had to wait days for their loved ones to be taken away,” Wated said. Mortuary workers in masks and protective clothing were seen carrying plastic-wrapped coffins in the city on Wednesday as authorities tried to cope with the backlog of dead.Work at cemeteries and funeral homes has stalled, with staffers reluctant to handle the dead over contagion fears.Ecuador is the Latin American country worst hit by the virus after Brazil, with more than 3,160 infections and 120 deaths by Thursday morning.Guayaquil has Latin America’s highest mortality rate from COVID-19 with 1.35 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants — higher than the 0.92 per 100,000 registered in Brazil’s epicenter Sao Paulo — according to Esteban Ortiz from Ecuador’s University of the Americas. Guayaquil’s surrounding province of Guayas has 70 percent of the country’s COVID-19 infections.Ecuador’s first reported case of COVID-19 was a 71-year-old Ecuadoran woman who arrived in Guayaquil from Spain on Feb. 14. Topics :center_img “In the forensic bureau they told us that they had taken him to the Guasmo Hospital. We went there to find him but he was not registered anywhere,” Romero told AFP.A 15-hour curfew imposed in the city makes further searching difficult. Some left desperate messages for authorities to take away the corpses of people who had died in their homes.Authorities have not confirmed how many of the dead were victims of the coronavirus.Rosa Romero, 51, lost her husband Bolivar Reyes and had to wait a day for his body to be removed from their home. A week later, amid the chaos of the city’s mortuary system, she does not know where it is.last_img read more

Guardiola seeks more consistency from Manchester City next season

first_img“Of course, we’ve been much better than the other 18 teams. The distance from second to first is big, the distance between second and third is big too, but it’s not enough.”The personal achievements must always be related to the achievements of the team, which has not been perfect.”The result meant that Guardiola’s side have won four league games in a row for the first time this season and the Spaniard said his team had to be more consistent to challenge for the title in the 2020-21 campaign.”We all still need to know we’re far away from Liverpool. This was the first time we’ve managed to win four in a row in the league. Two seasons ago, we managed 18, last season we managed 14,” Guardiola added.”This shows how poor the consistency has been this season because we’ve had the same team. This happened because something was wrong and I need to discover what it was ahead of next season.”City finish their campaign with a home match against relegated Norwich City on SundayTopics : Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said the individual achievements of his players must be viewed in relation to the team’s success and consistency after Raheem Sterling’s brace sealed a 4-0 Premier League win over Watford on Tuesday.City forward Sterling’s first-half goals took his league tally to 19 goals for the season, but Guardiola reminded his players that they were 15 points behind champions Liverpool having played one match less.”It’s important for Raheem to score goals but we cannot forget we finished a long way off the champions. This is not good for us,” Guardiola told reporters.last_img read more

Josep Bartomeu provides update on future of Arsenal transfer target Philippe Coutinho

first_imgPhilippe Coutinho scored twice against Barcelona in Bayern Munich 8-2 Champions League win (Picture: Getty)Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has been left clinging to power following last week’s historic defeat but insists there could still be role for Coutinho in the plans of incoming new head coach Ronald Koeman.He said: ‘The head coach will make the decision. If he wants him to continue, next year he will play with us.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalBartomeu and Koeman are likely to oversee a fire-sale of the first team squad with only eight current players deemed untransferrable. He added: ‘Messi is untouchable & non-transferable. He knows it, we all know it.‘But there are various non-transferable players like (Marc Andre) Ter Stegen, (Clement) Lenglet, (Nelson) Semedo, (Frenkie) De Jong, (Antoine) Griezmann, (Ousmane) Dembele… players we are counting on in the future.’MORE: Neymar transfer is ‘impossible’, insists Barcelona president Josep Maria BartomeuMORE: Lionel Messi wants to ‘finish his career at Barcelona’, claims Josep Maria BartomeuFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page. Advertisement Josep Bartomeu provides update on future of Arsenal transfer target Philippe Coutinho Philippe Coutinho is currently on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona (Picture: Getty)Philippe Coutinho’s future could yet lie at Barcelona, despite having spent a season on loan at Bayern Munich. The Brazil international joined the Catalan giants from Liverpool in January 2018, but he has failed to justify his astronomical €160million transfer fee and was loaned out last summer having been deemed surplus to requirements.Thomas Muller’s stellar form has forced Coutinho to play a bit-part role in Bayern’s success this term, although he rubbed salt into Barca’s wounds by scoring twice against his parent club in last Friday’s 8-2 Champions League annihilation. Bayern have already stated they will not turn Coutinho’s move into a permanent one, which has alerted the attention of several Premier League clubs, principally Arsenal. AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTCoutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian has already parked several of his most high-profile client at the north London club with Willian joining the likes of David Luiz and Cedric Soares following his free transfer from Chelsea last month. Comment Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 19 Aug 2020 9:43 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link6.7kShares Advertisementlast_img read more

Plans to scrap Italian pension regulator anger trade unions

first_imgThe Commissione di Vigilanza sui Fondi Pensione was set up in 1993 to oversee the activities of the country’s second-pillar pension schemes.In 2012, it had a budget of €11.2m, most of which is financed by pension schemes themselves.In the same year, the Italian state contributed only €200,000 to it.The plan is to merge Covip’s activities with Banca d’Italia, with the central bank assuming responsibility for the regulation of pension schemes.The country’s major trade unions – CGIL, CISL and UIL – have voiced their deep disappointment over the project, arguing that the loss of an “independent” authority would damage second-pillar pension schemes and their members.Additionally, the unions are worried that if Covip’s duties are assumed by Banca d’Italia, a conflict of interest will arise, since Covip currently regulates open pension schemes set up by banks and insurance companies, as well as collective negotiation-based schemes.Another concern is that, without a single authority overseeing the second pillar, workers will feel less protected and therefore less engaged with the issues surrounding pension planning.UIL released a statement by Domenico Proietti, a high-ranking official at UIL (Unione Generale del Lavoro) and former vice-president of Assofondipensione (the association of collective negotiation-based schemes), which states: “The idea of abolishing the authority on pension schemes is a very serious mistake. It is necessary to maintain a single, specific and independent authority to guarantee efficient and transparent provision of complimentary pensions. The government’s dreaded intention of transferring these competencies to Banca d’Italia would cancel those guarantees, as well as create a conflict of interests. If Covip were abolished, workers who are members of pension schemes would see the second-pillar system called into question again, while it has proved to be working.”Proietti instead called for the government to sponsor an information campaign about the benefits of second-pillar pension schemes.His position was wholeheartedly shared by CISL (Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori).In a statement, CISL official Maurizio Petriccioli said: “The hypothesis of scrapping the Commission and transferring its duties to Banca d’Italia is wrong and dangerous. It is wrong because the costs of Covip do not weigh on the state’s finances since pension schemes finance its budget. It is dangerous because it represents a new attempt of blurring the act of saving for retirement with investment.”The statement adds: “[This decision] risks strengthening public or private lobbies, whose only interest is to put their hands on the pool of second-pillar pensions.”Statements from CGIL (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro) echoed those of UIL’s Proietti and CISL’s Petriccioli.The unions argue that Covip helps to keep pension schemes focused on their welfare purposes.Prime minister Renzi replied in an interview with Italian broadsheet La Repubblica, published last week, dismissing the criticism.He said the unions’ disappointment stemmed from their concern that his reforms, if approved, would decrease their political power.Renzi also pointed out that Covip’s current chairman, Rino Tarelli, who was appointed this year after Antonio Finocchiaro’s tenure came to an end, was a former high-ranking CISL trade unionist that enjoyed significant power for many years.Renzi’s reform plans, along with the abolition of Covip, have a long way to go.Mario Monti’s technocratic government had already attempted scrapping the authority for similar reasons during his tenure, which ended in 2013, but the parliament voted against the proposal, and Covip was kept alive.Marco Abatecola, general secretary at Assofondipensione, the association of collective negotiation-based pension schemes, said: “We think this is deeply wrong. It is fundamental to have an independent, specific authority for second-pillar pensions in Italy. Covip has done a very good job of assuring common rules for actors that are very different from each other – negotiation-based, bank-owned and insurance schemes. It has also ensured similar costs for everyone and effective communication with members. Covip guarantees for all. It is financed by pension schemes themselves, so it does not burden the country’s finances. Banca d’Italia has an important regulatory role in the banking and insurance sector. However, because there are schemes that belong to these sectors, and Banca d’Italia is effectively part-owned by banks themselves, then pension schemes should be regulated by an independent, impartial authority.”Andrea Canavesio of Italian pension consultancy Mangusta Risk highlights another issue, which lies with the strength of the authority.He said: “The banking, insurance and pension regulating authorities should be separate. The pension sector should have its own regulator.“Covip receives little help from the government, has a ‘light’ structure, and it is self-funded through contributions form pension schemes, so it has little impact on the government’s finances. Integrating Covip into the functions of Banca d’Italia would be justified only if it meant significant advantages for pension schemes.“There is a problem to solve, in that Covip has limited scope for action. So any plan to give the authority more resources would be welcome.”Covip declined to comment. The Italian government’s plans to scrap the pension regulator as part of a comprehensive reform of the public sector have sparked a wave of criticism by the country’s trade unions.Prime minister Matteo Renzi is working on a reform that will overhaul Italy’s public sector, in a bid to generate savings and ease business practices.The plans include abolishing costly public entities, including regulatory agencies that are deemed unnecessary.Pension regulator Covip is among the candidates for elimination.last_img read more

Remontowa lays keel for BC Ferries’ new LNG-fueled vessel

first_imgPolish Remontowa Shipbuilding yard, part of Remontowa Holding has laid the keel for the construction of the fourth Salish-class LNG-fueled vessel for BC Ferries. The yard noted that due to the effects of the coronavirus, the event was a technical one taking place without shipowner representatives.Remontowa noted in its statement that the contract for the construction of the became valid in December last year and the first steel was cut in February. Launching is planned for mid-November this year, and the yard is set to deliver the vessel in 2021, the statement reads.The 107-meter Salish Class vessel will have the capacity to carry at least 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. It will allow for the retirement of the Mayne Queen, a diesel-fuelled vessel. It will operate, together with the Queen of Cumberland, on the Swartz Bay – Southern Gulf Islands line in the province of British Columbia in western Canada.The ship will be powered by three Wartsila engines and electrically propelled by Schottel thrusters at each end, driven by an efficient gas-electric power plant.The agreement with Remontowa is a design-build, fixed-priced contract that provides BC Ferries with substantial guarantees related to delivery dates, performance criteria, cost certainty and quality construction. The total project budget, which includes financing and project management costs, is approximately $92.3 million, BC Ferries said in an earlier statement.last_img read more